Former Premier Daniel Andrews is gone, but Victorian still remember the fanfare with which the Commonwealth Games 2026 (CWG 2026) were announced in April 2022. The games were going to hosted in regional Victoria, a first of its kind arrangement. The Commonwealth Games cancellation was announced on July 18.
Many Victorians now see the announcement and its associated work as a gimmick for the 2022 election.
Supporters of the government will say, a bit unfairly looking at the works commenced at many sites in regional Victoria.
Whichever way one looks at it, Victoria stands to lose – all up – close to half a billion dollars, perhaps more.
Since July 18, when the cancellation was announced, the state Opposition, led by John Pesutto has been relentlessly pursuing to know what went on behind the scenes to get to the bottom of things.
To that end, it convinced the cross benchers and in August it established a select committee of the Upper House to investigate.
The Legislative Council committee is made up of nine members – three each from the government, the Opposition and the cross bench. The members are:
- David Limbrick – Chair of the committee is the Libertarian Party member for South-Eastern Metropolitan
- Joe McCracken – Deputy Chair of the committee is the Liberal party member for Western Victoria
- Melina Bath is the National party member for Eastern Victoria
- David Davis is the Liberal party member for Southern Metro
- Jacinta Ermacora is the Labor party member for Western Victoria
- Michael Galea is the Labor party member for South-Eastern Metropolitan
- Sarah Mansfield is the Australian Greens party member for Western Victoria
- Tom McIntosh is the Labor member for Eastern Victoria
- Rikkie-Lee Tyrrell is the One Nation party member for Northern Victoria
‘We need to understand the impacts of the contract termination on Victoria’s reputation, as well as our business, tourism and major events sectors,’ Chair of the committee Mr Limbrick said.
‘We’re also looking at whether failures in governance, probity and procurement contributed to this outcome.
‘We’ll be investigating the advice received from government departments, councils, agencies, consultants and contractors, and examining the potential undue influence of the executive on the independence of the public service.’
Regional Victoria was set to play a major role in the March 2026 sporting spectacle.
‘The impact of the games cancellation on community, social, amateur and professional sports in Victoria is another key focus,’ Committee Deputy Chair Joe McCracken said.
The timeline, progress and budget of the Victorian Government’s regional infrastructure and housing build will also be scrutinised.
Once public submissions close the Committee has started holding public hearings on October 9. The next sitting dates are: 13, 23 and 26 October.
The committee is expected to provide its interim report to parliament by 30 April 2024. A final report is due by April 2025.
Closing date for public submissions is October 23.
The Select Committee on the Cancellation of the Commonwealth Games bid (Victoria) began on Monday, October 9 and will next sit on October 13. It questioned a number of Government departments and agencies.
“It seems like the wheels were falling off well before the cancellation was announced!,” Hon. Joe McCracken wrote on his Facebook after the first day’s deliberations.
People who appeared before the Select Committee on October 9:
Tim Ada, Secretary, Department of Jobs, Skills, Industry and Regions
Peter Betson, Deputy Secretary, Sports and Experience Economy
Heather Ridley, Deputy Secretary, Corporate Services
Brad Ostermeyer, Chief, Infrastructure Delivery, Sports and Experience Economy
Allen Garner, Former Chief Executive Officer, Office of the Commonwealth Games
Jeremi Moule, Secretary, Department of Premier and Cabinet
Jason Loos, Deputy Secretary, Economic Policy and State Productivity
Peggy O’Neal AO, Chair, Commonwealth Games Victoria 2026 Organising Committee
Jeroen Weimar, Chief Executive Officer, Commonwealth Games Victoria 2026 Organising Committee
If the day 1 hearing of the Commonwealth games bid, work and cancellation is any guide, it is going to be a long arduous task for the Opposition to get to the bottom of any substantial evidence to pin anything down on a particular individual.
Star performers of day 1 were – two Liberals – David Davis and Joe McCracken. While Joe McCracken expressed his utter frustration at times seeking answers of Allen Garner, David Davis on the other hand tried to pin Jeremi Moule, secretary of the Department of Premier and Cabinet, down particularly on how could the flights to London be booked on June 30 if the decision to cancel the games had not been made.
More to come.
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